The Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) has announced UPenn and Texas A&M Biomedical polyphosphazene (PPZ) collaborations to explore applications of two distinct families of novel polyphosphazenes in breast cancer tumor detection and medical device coatings.
PPZs are synthetic, biofunctional macromolecules with the potential to advance a wide range of biomedical capabilities. IBBR Fellow, Dr Alexander Andrianov, is working with collaborators to develop new PPZs for use as coatings for medical devices and as carriers of medical imaging agents.
IBBR director Dr Thomas Fuerst said: “Academic and industry collaborations are the essence of our mission to develop solutions to major health, scientific, and technological challenges that enhance life through science and discovery.
“We are proud to leverage our novel polyphosphazene expertise in polymer sciences to complement the visionary research being done at the University of Pennsylvania and Texas A&M University.”
The surface of implanted medical devices – like cardiac stents, catheters, and artificial joints – are often coated with polymers. Dr. Andrianov and his collaborator, Dr. Svetlana Sukhishvili (Professor and Director, Soft Matter Facility, Texas A&M University), recently received funding from the National Science Foundation to support the development of new, highly biocompatible, non-biodegradable, PPZ-based coatings that are capable of controlled drug release.
Dr. Andrianov notes, “One of remarkable features of these PPZ coatings is their self-healing capability, which means that even minor damage to the film surface can ‘smooth itself out,’ decreasing the potential for unwanted tissue growth and bacteria build-up.”
In another collaboration, Dr. Andrianov is working with Dr. David Peter Cormode (Associate Professor of Radiology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania) to apply PPZ technology toward earlier breast cancer detection.
Dr. Cormode was recently awarded a National Cancer Institute grant to develop silver-based contrast agents to enhance breast imaging by a technique called dual-energy mammography. Dr. Andrianov will synthesize, purify, and characterize PPZs suitable for making biodegradable nanoparticles with superior in vivo half-life to encapsulate the new contrast agents.
Dr. Andrianov’s PPZ research at IBBR was initially supported through a seed grant from the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, a program designed to leverage the strengths and missions of the University of Maryland College Park and the University of Maryland Baltimore to enhance the State of Maryland’s innovation economy, advance interdisciplinary research, create opportunities for students, and solve important problems for the people of Maryland and the nation.
IBBR is a University System of Maryland joint research enterprise among the University of Maryland College Park, the University of Maryland Baltimore, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Source: Company Press Release